Steps to Get Your Kitchen Organized After a Move

Moving to a new home can be an exciting, but chaotic time. Once the boxes are unpacked, you may find your new kitchen is a jumbled mess, with items strewn about and no organization system in place. Getting your kitchen properly organized after relocating will make it far easier to cook, eat and entertain in your new abode. Follow these key steps to transform your kitchen from cluttered chaos to a model of efficiency.

Assess What You Have

Before creating any type of organizational system, take stock of everything currently in the kitchen. Pull out all items from cabinets, drawers and pantries and group similar items together on the countertop or kitchen table. As you survey the collections, consider the following:

  • What items do you use frequently vs infrequently?
  • Are there any duplicate items you can eliminate?
  • What items have you not used in the past 6 months to a year and could potentially donate or sell?
  • Does anything need replacing due to wear and tear?
  • Are there organizational solutions you need to purchase like drawer dividers, tiered shelving orLazy Susans?

Making a list of the inventory along with notes will help immensely when creating your new organizational plan.

Develop Zones and Categories

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break down kitchen organization into different zones and categories. Common kitchen zones include:

  • Food storage zone: pantry, cabinets and drawers for food items
  • Cooking zone: cabinets and drawers for pots, pans, prep tools, utensils
  • Cleaning zone: area for cleaning supplies
  • Dish zone: cabinets for plates, cups, bowls and other dishware

Categories help group similar items together in the zones, such as:

  • Baked goods
  • Canned goods
  • Spices
  • Refrigerated items
  • Frozen foods
  • Produce
  • Dry goods like rice, pasta, grains
  • Mixes like pancake mix, brownie mix
  • Serving dishes
  • Pots & pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutting boards & prep tools
  • Dishware like plates, bowls, cups
  • Glassware for drinks
  • Small appliances like blender, mixer, etc.

Designate Space for Each Zone & Category

Now it’s time to assign cabinet and drawer space to the different zones and categories you identified. Make sure to allocate enough room for categories that have a lot of items, and don’t spread a category out across multiple distant spaces. Some guiding principles:

  • Place items you use most frequently in easy-access areas like lower cabinets and drawers.
  • Put heavy pots and pans on lower shelves.
  • Locate cleaning supplies apart from food.
  • Allow open counter space near cooking area for food prep.
  • Make sure dishes are located near the dishwasher.

also consider equipment like dividers, shelves, racks and other organizational tools to fully optimize the space.

Purge the Unnecessary

While assessing your inventory, you likely found duplicate items and things you no longer need. Don’t just shove these unnecessarily into the new space! Box up duplicates as well as items you don’t use much or are in worn condition. Sell or donate usable items to charity. Recycle anything truly unsalvageable.

Decluttering your kitchen will make organizing easier and your kitchen more functional.

Arrange Like Items Together

Now comes the fun part – returning items to shelves, drawers and cabinets in an orderly fashion! Keep these tips in mind:

  • Group like items together – cans with cans, spices with spices, etc.
  • Consider frequency of use and place most-used items at eye-level.
  • Position heavier items like cans on lower shelves.
  • Place items used in combination like pasta and sauce near each other.
  • Stand taller items upright to maximize vertical space.
  • Allow some open space between upright items for grabbing easily.

Invest in Organizational Tools

It’s amazing how adding a few organizational devices can transform a jumbled mess into a model of efficiency. Consider incorporating:

Lazy Susans

These spinning trays are perfect for corners and allow easy access to items from cabinets. Great for items like spices, canned goods and condiments.

Drawer Dividers

Dividers create compartments in drawers for utensils, prep tools, foil & plastic wrap boxes, cleaning supplies and more. Customize the configuration as needed.

Shelf Risers

Adding a second tier of storage doubles the space. Risers work for dishes, cans, jars, spices, and other kitchen items.

Pan Organizers

Specialized racks neatly store pots, pans and lids upright and accessible in one spot. A great alternative to messy stacks.

Utensil Organizers

Sort cooking/eating utensils in partitioned upright containers or horizontal in-drawer units. Options include mesh, acrylic, wood and more

Spice Racks

Models like wall-mounted racks, drawer organizers and spinning units keep spices visible and within reach during meal prep.

Label It All

Labels are invaluable organizing tools that immediately convey where items belong. Employ them liberally in the kitchen to:

  • Identify contents of containers, bins and baskets
  • Note locations of items on shelves with hard-to-see contents
  • Indicate what goes inside specific drawers
  • Provide directional cues like “Plates” or “Cups”

Cleaning and cooking zones greatly benefit from comprehensive labeling. Labels can be handwritten, printed or ready-made stickers. Laminated labels withstand moisture and wear.

Store Food Correctly

Proper food storage promotes freshness and reduces waste. Make sure to:

  • Position produce in crisper drawers, which regulate humidity.
  • Use clear storage bins to easily ID contents.
  • Place heavy items like cans on lower shelves.
  • Keep food 2-3 inches from cabinet walls for air circulation.
  • Ensure opened dry goods are sealed in airtight containers.
  • Refrigerate opened jars and cans; use oldest first.
  • Freeze any leftovers you won’t use in 3-4 days.

Date labels help locate older items quickly and prevent spoilage.

Maintain the System

Congratulations, your kitchen is now organized! Enjoy the efficiency and order. But organization is an ongoing process. Follow these habits to maintain order long-term:

  • Put items back in their designated homes after each use.
  • Conduct occasional “purges” to clear out unused or expired items.
  • Update labels as needed when contents or locations change.
  • Periodically check for and replace any worn organizational tools like dividers.
  • Adjust locations based on changing usage and reevaluate what works.

Most Important Areas to Organize After a Move

While every part of the kitchen merits attention when organizing after relocating, some key areas deserve priority:

Food Pantry

The pantry probably contains a haphazard mix of foods from the move. Sort and arrange items by category, discard anything past expiration and maximize vertical space.

Dishes & Serving Pieces

Boxes of dishes may still be packed or randomly crammed into cabinets. Group dishware and serving pieces together and arrange neatly.


Utensils, tools and other items will be dumped into drawers as unpacking occurs. Add dividers and compartments and logically group contents.


Keep counters cleared except for essential appliances. Store non-essentials like stand mixers in cabinets to maintain open workspace.


Unpack refrigerated and frozen items into fridge and freezer first. Toss anything expired. Use bins to group similar items.

Answers to Common Questions About Organizing a Kitchen After Moving

Organizing a kitchen in a new home comes with many questions. Here are helpful answers to some common queries:

How long should it take to organize a kitchen after moving?

Expect the entire process to take several hours, days or even weeks. Prioritize necessities like dishes and food areas first. Do zones bit by bit until everything has an orderly place.

Should I keep frequently used items readily accessible?

Yes, place items you use multiple times a day like dishes, cookware and cooking tools in easy-reach spots like lower cabinets and drawers closest to the work triangle.

What are the best containers for pantry items?

Use clear plastic, stackable bins and containers to easily see contents. Square shapes make efficient use of shelf space. Glass jars allow visibility.

How do I organize cooking utensils and tools?

Store utensils upright in containers divided into sections by type. Long tools like spatulas can lay flat in a drawer with dividers.

What are good organizational systems for the refrigerator?

Use bins, shelving and door racks to group similar items. Have designated zones for drinks, produce, condiments, leftovers etc.

Key Takeaways for Organizing Your Kitchen After Moving

Relocating offers a perfect chance to start fresh with an efficient, organized kitchen. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Assess everything you currently have and figure out ideal placements based on frequency of use and category.
  • Designate distinct zones like food storage, dishes, cleaning supplies, appliances, etc.
  • Add organizational tools like lazy susans, drawer dividers, racks and bins to optimize storage.
  • Purge duplicate and unneeded items to clear clutter.
  • Maintain organization by always putting items back in their set locations after use.
  • Adjust storage based on evolving needs and re-evaluate the system periodically.

With some forethought and effort, you can make your new kitchen a highly functional, orderly and pleasant workspace for meal prep, cooking and entertaining. The tips provided will help transform the kitchen from a haphazard mess to a model of efficiency after your move.


Moving into a new home provides a perfect opportunity to start fresh with a logical, efficient kitchen organization system. By assessing all the items you have, purging the unnecessary, designating space for categories, investing in storage solutions, labeling everything and maintaining the new order, you can convert even the most chaotic, messy kitchen into a functional workspace you’ll enjoy using for years to come. Just take the organization process step-by-step and soon you’ll have your ideal organized kitchen.